The Hackpen or Broad Hinton or Winterbourne Bassett white horse
Ordnance Survey grid reference: SU 128 749
The Hackpen white horse is near The Ridgeway on the edge of the Marlborough Downs, two miles south east of Broad Hinton village, on Hackpen Hill where the Wootton Bassett to Marlborough road zigzags up the hill.
Its origin is uncertain. It may have been cut in 1838 by a Henry Eatwell, Broad Hinton parish clerk, perhaps with the assistance of the landlord of a local pub, to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria.
This white horse is on a comparatively shallow slope, but is partly banked up to make it more easily visible. It can be seen from a distance from the high ground near the village of Cliffe Pypard to the west. From nearby it can be seen well from the Wootton Bassett to Marlborough road. There is a car park on Hackpen Hill where that road crosses The Ridgeway, and the horse can be reached easily from it.
The horse has been cleaned frequently in recent years. In May or June 2000 John Wain cleaned it single-handedly, a task which took him some five hours. He later flew David Brewer over the area to photograph the village of Broad Hinton and the white horse for David's book "Images of a Wiltshire Downland Village: Broad Hinton and Uffcott". John cleaned the horse every year until 2003 or 2004. On September 23rd 2004 the horse was cleaned, again single-handedly, by Bevan Pope. On February 1st 2011 John Wain cleaned the horse again, this time with the help of a group of friends, and they've done so every year since. After cleaning, the group cover the horse with a layer of about a ton of lime, which helps to keep weeds down and gives the horse a brilliant white finish. John, Kate Fenn and the group cleaned the horse on 16th July 2017, with the "help" of four inquisitive horses which were in the field. The task took them some four hours to complete. Their regular restoration work has the full support of the local farmer, James Hussey.
The most recent cleaning of the horse was by John Wain, alone on this occasion, on 11th March 2019, prior to the BBC putting a temporary red nose on the horse on 15th March to mark Red Nose Day in aid of Comic Relief.
Visitors to the horse should note that there are sometimes real horses in the field where the chalk horse is situated, and they are liable to become extremely interested in visitors, especially if they think there might be food with them, and will crowd around very attentively. I wouldn't recommend taking dogs or young children into the field if the horses are there.
OS 1:50 000 map
This site was last updated on 20th March 2019